NYPD commissioner talks ‘concerning’ uptick in hate crimes, vaccine mandate, retirement plans

Local News

NEW YORK – Hate crimes are escalating across New York City, according to the latest numbers released by the NYPD and the Hate Crimes Review Panel.

Anti-Asian incidents have jumped 361% from 28 this time last year to 129 this year while hate crimes against the LGBTQ community are up 139% to 85 this year and anti-Semitic incidents are up 51%, data shows.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea discussed the uptick in hate crimes, what’s being done to prevent them, if police are stepping up security after a Christmas tree outside the News Corp Building on Sixth Avenue was set on fire and what his plans after retirement are.

Christmas tree fire on Sixth Avenue

A man was arrested after he allegedly set a Christmas tree on fire in Midtown Manhattan. 

Shea said the suspect, Craig Tamanaha, is known to the NYPD who has a series of low-level arrests both in-state and out-of-state.

He believes the suspect was working alone, and the motive is not known. 

Hate crimes up

With hate crimes on the rise, the police commissioner said as numbers go up, the hate crimes task force will be supplemented with additional resources as needed.

Shea acknowledged the trend of doubling up in a year is “concerning,” particularly with anti-Asian and anti-Semitic attacks.

When asked if the task force should expand, Shea said it’s definitely something they’re looking into.

For the incoming police commissioner, Shea said “a lot has been done” in terms of education both inside and outside the NYPD.

He also said being as transparent as possible and holding people accountable is necessary.

Vaccine mandate

Mayor Bill de Blasio expanded the city’s vaccine mandate to include private sector workers. 

However, a judge on Tuesday granted a hearing to determine whether or not the mandate requiring all city workers, including police and firefighters, should remain in effect.

Shea said they will be reviewing it and following legal standards, but right now, it’s not changing anything. 

As of Tuesday, about 87.4% of the force have been vaccinated, but Shea said he aims to get the number higher.

Retirement 

The commissioner, along with First Deputy Commissioner Ben Tucker, put in their retirement papers last week.

Shea said it was his intention, since day one, to stay as police commissioner until Dec. 31. 

He said he is “looking forward to Times Square” that evening and hoping for good weather as he passes on the torch to the new commissioner.

Shea remained tight-lipped on his future plans, but said he is exploring all options.

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